Gordon Wright guest of honour at Cherub Nationals

Alison Chapman and Kurt Warner from NSW will be among the facourites at the 50th Aniversary Cherub Nationals to be sailed at Belmont 16ft Sailing Club.
Margaret Sanderson
Forty nine years after he won the first ever Australian Cherub National Championship, Gordon Wright from Perth will be the guest of honour at the 50th Anniversary Cherub Nationals Regatta to be sailed at Belmont 16ft Sailing Club over the Christmas period. Wright, along with many other former Cherub sailors, will join the current group of young Cherub sailors at a combined class reunion and presentation night on the evening of 5th January 2012.

The Cherub class has been one of the cornerstones of Australian sailing since its introducing in the early 1960s, instrumental in moulding the careers of many of our highest profile elite sailors, yacht designers and officials. More importantly it has provided many millions of hours of enjoyable sailing to thousands of young sailors across the country.

The class got its start in Australian when Gordon Wright’s father Basil got together six Mounts Bay sailing families, all of who had children all within a year of each other. The group decided they would build six boats to a design from New Zealander John Spencer to be launched and raced in the 1960-61 season at Mounts Bay Sailing Club. As the boats were launched the Cherub class in Australia was formed.

The first fleet of Cherubs in Australia started out at Mounts Bay Sailing Club under the guidance of Basil Wright - Cherub National Championship 2012-13
Basil Wright

By 1962-63 Cherub fleets had started in Victoria and Queensland. To encourage other States, it was decided to hold the first ever Australian Yachting Championship for Cherubs in 1963-64. These first titles were held the Newhaven Yacht Squadron on Philip Island, Victoria. The venue was chosen because it was easier access for the east-coast fleets. The Championship allowed the Western Australian group to show Victorian, South Australian, Queensland and New South Wales people, just how well the new boats could perform. Western Australia did well; they filled five of the first six in the championships. Gordon Wright and Gary Bisdee, sailing Cupid III won the series also winning the Cadet, Junior and Open Divisions.

The next Australian titles were held the following year in 1964-65 on the Swan River, the year after they went to Humpybong Sailing Club in Brisbane, and then Northbridge Sailing Club in Sydney. The first two of these were won by Gordon Lucas and Phil Arnold from WA and the Sydney event by Geoff Adams and Tony Brown from NSW. The series have run successfully in a rotation between the States ever since.

Cherub National champions over the years in the Open, Junior, Cadet and Women’s categories have included Ian Murray, Nicky and Julian Bethwaite, James, Jeanine and Rowena Wilmot, Stephen and Andrew Hay and a host of top skiff sailors.

The class continues to attract young sailors keen to design, build, tune and campaign exciting boats at a modest cost. Over 50 Cherubs are expected to contest the 50th Anniversary series.

Sailors interested in attending the 50th Anniversary Reunion on 5 January at Belmont should contact Margaret Sanderson at msando@ihug.com.au or 0414 861 813.

This Christmas the Cherub class will be celebrating over 50 years of comprtitive sailing opportunities for young Australian sailors. - Cherub National Championships 2012-13
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